Kusama in London: Largest Pumpkin Sculpture Takes Center Stage at Kensington Gardens

Yayoi Kusama | Pumpkin | Serpentine Galleries
Yayoi Kusama, Digital rendering of Pumpkin (2024). Source: Serpentine Galleries

Serpentine Galleries and The Royal Parks have announced the installation of a new large-scale sculpture by Yayoi Kusama in Kensington Gardens this summer. The piece is her tallest bronze pumpkin sculpture to date, standing at 6 meters in height and 5.5 meters in diameter, featuring the artist’s signature black and yellow color palette. 

The “Pumpkin” (2024) is a representation of Yayoi Kusama’s decades-long dedication to working with pumpkins, paired up with her technique and artistic vision. The ‘Pumpkin’ sculpture will grace the Round Pond from July 9 to November 3, 2024, inviting visitors to engage with its surroundings and explore its various facets.

A second installation, “Infinite Accumulation”, will be installed in July at Liverpool Street Station. For this site-specific artwork, Kusama has developed her signature polka dot to create 3-D forms that seemingly hover overhead. The artist also uses the help of mirrors and works with light to illustrate an ethereal look. The installation​​ was created in order to link the subway station to the public space outside and encourage the passers-by to engage with their surroundings.

Yayoi Kusama gained recognition for her whimsical and surreal style, blending vibrant colors with tentacle-like forms, light, mirrors, and her iconic polka-dot motif. These elements create a mesmerizing visual experience, emphasizing geometrical harmony.

Her love for pumpkins originates from her childhood in Japan, surrounded by pumpkin fields where her family grew Japanese kabocha squash. She often uses pumpkins as self-portraits, admiring their everyday quality and unique, humorous forms. Pumpkins adorned with her signature polka dots have consistently appeared in Kusama’s paintings and sculptures since the mid-1940s.

Kusama’s repetitive motifs in her artwork reflect her hallucinations and fears, channeled into distinctive sculptures and immersive installations. Themes of nature, love, and infinity pervade her body of work, blending abstract and figurative elements.

Her sculptures and installations are globally exhibited in museums, galleries, and open-air spaces such as parks and seaside locations. Since 1994, one of her most famous pieces, a yellow and black pumpkin, has been permanently displayed at the Benesse Art Site in Naoshima, Japan.

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